Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Treasures Within the Trial

I am hijacking a sermon from my Pastor for this blog.

Yesterday's message was a gentle, yet pointed reminder needed by all who heard it.

Pastor Wayne spoke on trials and how God in His Word exhorts us to respond, not with complaining and grief, but with pure joy.

James 1:2
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."


The truth is that how I respond to the trials in my life will either glorify God, or the enemy.

As I snuggle up with Nicky at night, resting with him as he crosses over into dreamland, there has been a likelihood that he will have seizures as his brain shifts gear and switches into sleep mode.
Each night as I lie there with him, I feel the burning and churning in my stomach as I anticipate the 'storms' as he calls them. Sometimes they come, sometimes not. When they do, I leave his room later, depleted and shaken. This is not something you can get used to, or control.
He's a brave little soldier and I've told him that he's my hero, so courageous. But the key hasn't been my desperately whispered prayers as he tremors in my arms, or the authoritative rebuking of whatever causes this in his little body, but the leaning into the struggle, accepting the trial and singing along with Casting Crowns "I will praise you in this storm...".

Something shifts in me, in him and in the spirit realm when I praise...as Alvin Slaughter sings..
"When I praise Your Name, heaven stops to listen, when I praise Your Name, in honor bow before You, when I bring a sacrifice, You're worthy to receive, O' Lord I know You hear me when I praise..."

So I read and absorb another scripture shared yesterday, "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us." Romans 5:3

Pastor shared that while worry and critical thoughts release damaging chemicals into the body's sytems, thankfulness releases healing chemicals. God designed us to give thanks and reap the benefits of this.
He reminded us that if we think this way, and understand the potential outcomes of our trials, then they need no longer be viewed only as trials, but as character strengthening exercises.

As Paul the apostle described his trials, and there were many, he allowed them to chisel him into the image of the Savior. Paul said in Hebrews "I will boast in my trials...so that Christ's power may rest on me...".
We need to dig deeply for the gold within our circumstances.

The author Barbara Johnson stated "Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional."

One study that Pastor cited showed that memories of trauma get lodged deep within the limbic system of the brain. This part also affects moods, attitude and relationships. Brains scans have shown that when there is trauma, this limbic centre heats up and glows on the scan. The trauma is accompanied by feelings of cynicism, pessimism, moodiness, negativity, decreased motivation, negative emotions and a score of other difficulties.

However it also showed that with the right kind of thinking, this limbic centre can be cooled down.
Translation...PUT ON THE MIND OF CHRIST.

Not so easy some may say. I agree. At first it may be a grueling, uphill battle. Perhaps notes around the home and office reminding of what God has to say about our trials, and focussed prayer and meditation on this topic. But as we learn, and our hearts begin to shift, we will know the benefits of praising God and focusing on thankfulness.

When we pray as a family, Nicky loves to sing the VegieTale song "I thank God for this day, for the sun in the sky, for my Mom and my Dad, for my piece of apple pie, for the love that He shares, that He listens to my prayers, that's why I say thanks everyday...".
And the song goes on.
He's got it right. The chorus says "A thankful heart is a happy heart..."

Thank you Lord for this teaching. It was needed to help shift my heart. Remind me moment by moment to give thanks in all situations



YouTube - Casting Crowns - Praise You in the Storm

18 comments:

Joyful Fox said...

Angcat,

Thank you for this post on trials. A beautiful reminder and inspiration to have grateful hearts even midst trials. May our character be developed and our hope renewed.

Marilyn said...

Awesome, timely reminder! Thank you for bringing it forward. And thanks for how you illustrated it with your own situation.

Some people are privileged with a keener awareness of just how quickly things can go from fine to "yikes!" (It is true for everyone, but some are just more keenly aware of it.) That sight is a gift! Living in the presence of continual UNKNOWNS is an art form all its own. Some put down their brushes and give up. Others process the grief, then pick up their brushes and paint wildly on the canvas they've been given....one day at a time, one moment at a time.

Anonymous said...

Ang Cat, one of your best posts -- it was a really good reminder for me right at this time, so THANK you so much.

Which also goes to show our trials aren't just for our own edification and sanctification but when shared for that of others as well.

Alex

Belinda said...

Amen sisters! Thank you Ang.

Angcat said...

Yes and Amen.
And I am encouraged by your words too!
Thank you dear Holy Spirit and to Pastor Wayne Lucas for being the vessel for this message.

Meg said...

Thanks, Angcat. I so agree about the trauma, and thank you for greater detail about that. I want to know so much more about this. Any info you can get from your pastor about the studies he has read, I would really appreciate. I will add it to what I have already learned. We can chat about this on Saturday, I guess.

Glad you are digging for gold, and finding more treasures in the darkness.

Night Owl said...

Romans 5:3 is my favourite part of the bible. Sometimes hope escapes me, but this line gives me something to hang on to anyway.
Thanks for the brilliant post.

Night Owl said...

...Oh, hold on... If hope escapes me, does that mean I don't have character? :S

Angcat said...

Dear Night Owl,
It means you are a work in progress, like all of us, and you are still yet young.
Your character is being formed and molded by the Master Artist.

My friend Joyful once reminded me to start at the beginning of the list. In this particular scripture, hope is way at the end, after suffering, perseverance and character.
As we learn to persevere in our trials, character is produced and out of that, hope which does not disappoint... I think because after all that, we have learned to hope in the right things, and in the One of is the giver of all good gifts.

Night Owl said...

Dear Angcat,
Thanks for sharing your and Joyful's ideas on Romans 5:3 with me. :)
It makes sense that I must go back to start at the beginning of the list. I don't think I'm any good at persevering in my trials, though... But I sure am good at suffering through them! :( So I guess I have to work on my perseverance... How does one do that?
Love,
Night Owl

Angcat said...

Hi Night Owl,
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, for He is the author and finisher of your faith.
Fill your mind and heart with His word, more of Him and less of you.
Then eventually it will be His responses that come through you, not yours.
I'm 42 and just starting to grasp this...Press in...He is faithful.

Night Owl said...

Hi Angcat,
I'm trying not to be selfish. I don't want to be selfish... :( I guess I fail at that too... :(
It's hard to not be in control of my own "story". It's hard not to be the one to say when it should end because it's too long and the journey is too difficult and the "hero" (who really isn't a hero at all) is too weak and useless.
It feels like I am trying to struggle on this journey, and no one is picking me up when I fall... And then as I'm trying to stay on the ground where it's safe (because you can't fall when you're on the ground), I look back and see that there wasn't really anything there to make me fall. So why did I fall? I think I'm just lost, maybe.
Maybe my eyes have forgotten where to look and direct my self.
Or maybe I'm tired of directing myself. But no one else is going to do that. Will God really do that for me? It doesn't seem like it... But I'm still here, so He must be doing SOMETHING...
I'm not sure if this is my response or His... I'm trying to be silent, though...
I really like the number 42. Have you read Douglas Adams's "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"? I think 42 sounds like "fortitude". That's a good place to be. :)
I'm embarrassed to say how old I am, because I probably sound like some angst-ridden teenager, or maybe even a terrible twos toddler (who has an amazing ability with words). :) Anyway, I'm sure I sound quite immature... I'm not a teenager anymore though... I just turned 20... I think I should probably be beyond this, but it keeps coming back, and I don't know what to do with it. Sometimes I wish I just got it over with a long time ago, when it could have been "more socially acceptable".

Belinda said...

Dear Night Owl,
You are a wonderful 20 year old young woman who I happen to care deeply about.

You are under huge pressure. No wonder you feel weary and hopeless and worthless sometimes. The thing is to know the difference between the feelings and reality.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of our son's favourite books. You must have the some zaniness about you to love it!

I'll be praying through this tough time. Please keep letting us know how things are as I know that my blog sisters will also be praying.

Night Owl said...

Dear Belinda,
What is the difference between feelings and reality? Aren't feelings reality, and reality feelings?

Belinda said...

Dear Night Owl,
What tough but good questions! :)

What is reality? I choose to believe that it is what God says it is. When my feelings tell me something different, I have to make a choice about which to believe. If I feel worthless, I will remember that God made me and his Word says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. The enemy preys upon our feelings, amd circumstances can overwhelm us with feelings of despair and discouragement.

But these aren't reliable indicators of reality, or to be counted upon; they are shifting sand.

Night Owl said...

oh...
Am I allowed to dislike the enemy very much? I wish the enemy would pick on someone their own "size".
I understand what you mean about the shell thing... Thanks, Belinda.

PRAISE GOD IN ALL THINGS Transform Your Mind- Frank Hackl said...

I like what you wrote about Trials. I did my own study on trials as well. Your quote on the pastor was right-on!

"He reminded us that if we think this way, and understand the potential outcomes of our trials, then they need no longer be viewed only as trials, but as character strengthening exercises."

A trial is no longer an issue, it becomes enjoyable, knowing that God is teaching you something through it.

I have 2 little boys. I can not fathom what you go through each evening. I do not believe it is God's will for your child to suffer like that. I will keep you in prayer for a complete healing.

If I may, I recommend listening to Bill Johnson from Redding, CA at Bethal church. He's got some good teachings deep teachings.

Renew, Praise, Persevere -
-Frank

night owl said...

Dear Angcat,
I'm really sorry... I don't know what I was thinking, but now that I read this again, my heart is breaking for Nicky, and really, your whole family.
I'm sorry for being such a shellfish, and not much of a night owl... I'm REALLY sorry...